The Way Things Used to Be

In a previous post I talked about how every interaction between you and your spouse is either positive or negative.  Most people start out positive, and then end up neutral to negative, and wonder where all the fun went, why they just aren’t happy anymore, and how on earth they’re ever going to get back to “the way things used to be.”

I hear that phrase, that desire, over and over again, especially from people who have been married or partnered for more than a decade.  But the truth is that no one really wants things to be the way they were 20 years ago.  For most people 20 years ago includes a level of immaturity, recklessness, financial uncertainty, and a host of other things that they’re glad they’ve moved beyond in the decades since they were younger.

When people say “I wish things were the way they used to be,” what they really mean is that they wish they could feel the kind of love and connection that they had with their spouse when they first fell in love.  They want that love and affection in their current life NOW.

Which means that you need to start doing something different than what you’re doing right now.  You need to begin having positive experiences with each other again, and you need to find a way to make those positive experiences a regular yet variable occurrence.

Here’s how:

You have to come to terms with the reality that you have first. You cannot create change until you’ve taken full responsibility for your part in creating the situation you’re in right now – you helped create it to begin with.

You and your spouse BOTH have to get clear on the reality that you want (ideally together).  If you aren’t in agreement about where your relationship is going you’ll never get there.

You have to take real steps to make that vision a reality.  What’s fun for you?  What’s exciting?  What events or activities help you connect to each other?  Do more of that.

You have to engage fully with whatever personal or emotional obstacles that come up in the process.  Here’s an article I wrote on this topic.

And if you missed the post where I discuss positive, negative, neutral experiences, you can read it here.

Moving back into “the way things used to be” takes more than just wishful, wistful thinking.  It takes action, and a willingness to stretch through whatever’s keeping you from being in that better place.

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